Project 1.1.1: GEM (Global Entrepreneurship Monitor) database

Project Team

Prof. Hans Crijns (project leader), dr Miguel Meuleman and Sabine Vermeulen.


The GEM database focuses on the individual and measures the level of entrepreneurial activity within a region, based on individual interviews. By entrepreneurship we understand “each attempt to create a new organisation. A new organisation is: a self-employed, a new company, an extension of an existing company activity by an individual, a group of individuals or an existing company”.
This database is part of the international research initiative - General Entrepreneurship Monitor - in which the Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School participated in 2000 for the first time and annually since then. The General Entrepreneurship Monitor was created in 1997 as a joint research initiative by Babson College and London Business School, with the aim of studying the complex relationship between entrepreneurship and economic growth. More than 30 countries from all continents participate annually in GEM.
Engaging in this kind of research enables the longitudinal follow-up of entrepreneurial activity (intrapreneurship and extrapreneurship) in Belgium and Flanders and the participating GEM countries, by means of standardised databases (adult population survey database, international master data file and key informants database).


In order to quantify and analyse this model three methods of collecting information are used for each participating country:

• 2000 standardised questionnaires
• qualitative interviews with 36 experts
• macro-economic data from international databases (OESO, CEC,…), including GNP, population, income disparity, level of education, social security, etc..
This same methodology is to be used in 2008 and in the next years, when the data collection is repeated to make the database suitable for dynamically understanding trends in entrepreneurial activity.

Next to the international database, we propose to extend the database with follow-on interviews with the pre-entrepreneurs in order to understand who did start a company and who did not, what the hurdles were, etc. An international group of GEM researchers will be sought to address the same questions, so as to make the Belgian/Flemish results comparable to those in other countries.



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